8 Movies That Looked Hilarious (Before The CGI Was Added)

Special effects aren’t going anywhere. From the mesmerizing performances of Andy Serkis, to the fact that Johnny Depp swapped places with his animatronic Disneyland counterpart years ago and no one noticed, movies are full of amazing artifice.

But sometimes, when you strip away that veneer of movie magic, what you’re left with is just flat-out bonkers. The next time you complain that a movie’s CGI looks kinda ridiculous, remember that underneath all those layers of digital fakeness, they look like this:

8. The X-Men Are A Bunch Of Dorks Without Their Powers

The Movie:

The X-Men franchise may be a twisted pretzel of nonsensical continuity and mixed metaphors, but at least they look pretty darn cool. Just think of all those kickass scenes where Quicksilver runs at super-speed while listening to his Sony Walkman (which is also somehow set to super-speed)!

Without The Special Effects:

In person, it seems as though the X-Men are actually uncannily dorky. The sequences with Quicksilver, for instance, were accomplished by getting right in the actor’s face with an industrial fan.

20th Century Fox | Apparently, they cut the scene where he vigorously masturbates two dudes.

On that note, here’s the majestic Storm learning why capes and the ability to command winds are two great flavors that do not go well together.

20th Century Fox | Per her contract, Halle Berry then got to bash the head of a crewmember with her Academy Award.

The new Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse, meanwhile, looks like she’s in a production of Peter Pan where the stagehands just tried PCP for the first time:

20th Century Fox | This movie is set before Storm learned you shouldn’t drink and fly.

Speaking of Apocalypse, you’ll never be intimidated by that character again once you’ve seen him and Magneto comparing dance moves. Aroused, sure, but intimidated? Nah.

20th Century Fox | Mutant mating rituals are so much sexier than human ones.

Hell, the mutants can’t even record the sound effects without looking like giant doofuses. You might think that after playing Wolverine approximately 90 times, Hugh Jackman could take the day off while Fox just dubs in some grunts and growls from previous movies — but nope, he had to schlep out to a studio and record his angry running sounds.

20th Century Fox | He’s recording the classic scene where Wolverine almost loses his expensive Bose headphones.

What’s written on that paper? “Grunt,” “Snarl,” “Loud Snarl”? We’re probably being total dicks for chuckling at someone’s commitment to their craft, but you have to admit it’s pretty funny watching him go full berserker in a t-shirt, with no claws, and with an electric piano in the background in case Wolverine wants to lay down some sweet Billy Joel tracks.

20th Century Fox | Wait, is he dubbing Logan or a Dragon Ball Z episode?

7. Beauty And The Beast Is About Emma Watson Dating A Deformed Muscleman

The Movie:

Like a fire sale of intellectual property, Disney keeps remaking their animated classics in live-action. Their most recent (and most Stockholm syndrome-y) effort is Beauty And The Beast, which is best known for the scene where Belle and the Beast dress up in formal clothes and go dancing — hopefully those ballroom tiles aren’t all enchanted servants who never got to sing any fun songs because they were being trampled all the goddamn time.

Walt Disney PicturesAt least they aren’t the chambermaid who got turned into a chamber pot.

Without The Special Effects:

While this was commonly referred to as the “live-action” version, there’s a crap-ton of animation in here. In reality, the actor playing the Beast was less beastly, and more “Power Ranger Who Ate His Weight in Steroids.” No amount of Angela Lansbury songs could make this anabolic crash test dummy look dignified.


The actual dancing is also decidedly less romantic. Ever dressed up for a date where the other person showed up in sweat pants? Imagine how poor Emma Watson must be feeling.

Walt Disney PicturesAt least she had practice kissing absurd beings, thanks to the Ron Weasley plot in Harry Potter.

6. Batman V Superman Minus Batman Equals Wimpy Superman

The Movie:

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The gritty face-off between two legendary characters that’s probably going to be remembered as “that movie where Wonder Woman shows up.”

Sure, there were a lot of special effects in this movie, but it was mostly used to show Superman’s powers, or to create the monstrous Doomsday with those hard drives they bought at Peter Jackson’s garage sale. Right?

Without The Special Effects:

Either because the armored Bat-suit was too fancy to build, or the Red Sox were in town that day, even Ben Affleck’s Batman was sometimes all digital. Meaning this:

Warner Bros. Pictures

Actually looked like this:

Warner Bros. Pictures | Tron Guy V Superman.

At long last, we get to see what Batman would look like if Bruce Wayne wasn’t rich and had to create his crime-fighting costume using only foam rubber and electrical tape from Staples. Of course, the real victim here isn’t Bats but Superman, who is now shown being throttled by a grown man LARPing as an Office Depot.

Warner Bros. Pictures

It was already kind of sad to watch Superman get beaten up by the non-powered Batman in this movie. It’s even worse when it’s some random dude in a hoodie slowly roundhouse kicking poor Supes across the room:

Warner Bros. Pictures

And the next one is from Man Of Steel, but who wouldn’t want to see Russell Crowe pretending he’s riding an alien creature but actually sitting atop some variety of industrial dildo?

Warner Bros. Pictures | Or maybe that’s Russell Crowe’s usual industrial dildo face. What do we know.

5. The Civil War Airport Battle Wasn’t Epic IRL

The Movie:

Who would have thought that one of the best superhero movies would be about two icons battling over legislation that would bar them from destroying Eastern European cities? Captain America: Civil War had a lot of exciting scenes, but the inarguably most kick-ass moment was the epic battle between heroes on an airport runway.

Marvel Studios”Uh, our flights were delayed and we got bored as shit.”

Without The Special Effects:

Sans movie magic, the scene looks like a bunch of nerds started a cosplay-themed fight club.

Marvel StudiosWhat happens when your friend spells “Spider-Man” without the hyphen and refuses to apologize.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Spider-Man’s seemingly fighting no one. Black Panther and the Winter Soldier pivot around each other like it’s West Side Story. Hawkeye is firing imaginary arrows and hoping no one notices, but that doesn’t affect the character’s effectivity in any significant way, so we’ll let it slide. Also, if you pay close attention, the quality of the costumes is, well, not what we’re used to.

Marvel StudiosWar Machine just realized he left the house half-dressed in pajamas.

Spidey has dead, lifeless eyes, and the studio seemingly gave Iron Man and War Machine no metallic pants, but leggings and ski boots. Finally, it would be a whole lot easier to take Iron Man and Captain America’s fight seriously if they would lose the sunglasses and, again, get Tony some goddamn trousers.

Marvel StudiosWait, why are there two Caps? Did Tony fall off the wagon and start seeing double?

4. Rogue One‘s Actors Have Space Measles

The Movie:

After The Force Awakens couldn’t stop bragging about its devotion to puppet creatures, clunky sets, and other practical effects, the next Star Wars movie for some reason went in the opposite direction — Lucasfilm’s computers basically became necromancers.

Lucasfilm | They stopped just short of having Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant steal the Death Star plans.

Besides CGI-ing the late Peter Cushing into the movie, they also used computer technology to recreate young Princess Leia for the film’s video game cutscene-like final moments:

LucasfilmKidding. If it was a video game, she’d be wearing the gold bikini for no reason.

Without The Special Effects:

The actress playing Princess Leia wore the whole get-up, Cinnabon hair and all — except her face was covered in tiny blue dots, as if Leia had some kind of deadly Alderaanian plague.

Lucasfilm | That’s why you don’t kiss a Wookie.

The actor playing Grand Moff Tarkin also got the galactic skin condition treatment so the ILM guys could later insert that digital death mask overtop his face:

Lucasfilm And you thought Earth acne was bad.

And without the CGI, the imposing fortress of the Imperial archives …


… is actually a London subway station. See, they digitally altered those escalators, and presumably erased all the cigarette butts and urine puddles.


And behind the scenes, Darth Vader is just a guy who needs to have his cape de-linted, like we all do from time to time.

Lucasfilm | He doesn’t actually need the helmet: it’s just for the dandruff.

3. Darth Maul Was Almost As Embarrassing As The Rest Of The Phantom Menace

The Movie:

At this point, the prequels have become the black … whatever the freaky alien equivalent of sheep are, of the Star Wars canon. But we can all agree there was one worthwhile element to The Phantom Menace: Darth Maul.

Lucasfilm | By far the coolest Juggalo ever.

Yup, Darth Maul, the face-tatted Sith so badass he was willing to allow himself to be cut in half just to avoid the abject humiliation of appearing in Attack Of The Clones.

Without The Special Effects:

Behind the scenes, Darth Maul was … a little less badass. Remember that sweet hoverbike Maul uses to cruise around Tatooine in search of the American dream? Well, in reality, it was just a rocking horse-thing in a blue tarp.

Lucasfilm | Lucasfilm didn’t even pony up the cash to buy the poor guy some handlebars.

And his evil Force powers? Just a child-sized trampoline.

Lucasfilm”Yippee” was originally his line, not Ani’s.

It’s also hard to be intimidated by someone being shielded with a beach umbrella …

Lucasfilm | That’s not a lightsaber, that’s a giant Popsicle.

… or once you’ve seen him go full McConaughey to fight off a Jedi Knight.

Lucasfilm | To be fair, removing all your clothes is a natural reaction to meeting Liam Neeson.

2. Avatar‘s Pandora Looked Like An Abandoned Ikea

The Movie:

With a slew of sequels coming out just a few short years after your death, it seemed like as good a time as any to talk about Avatar, the erotic Smurfs slash-fiction that somehow made billions of dollars.

20th Century Fox | Historians will never believe that this was before that period when everyone got into bath salts.

Of course, a lot of the movie is obviously motion capture, so what did the actual filming look like?

Without The Special Effects:

A lot of fans wish they could actually visit Pandora, and they totally could. Just head to any shitty-looking empty warehouse full of garbage and you’re pretty much there. James Cameron basically just hollowed out an Ikea and had a bunch of actors in mo-cap suits run around. Oh, yeah, and their suits had pointy ears, tails, and (for some reason) rainbow-colored dreadlocks, like some kind of bizarre cross between Predator and My Little Pony

20th Century Fox

And sure, motion capture probably injects a lot of humanity into the process, but surely they could have just animated this character falling on their face, for the poor actor’s sake?

20th Century Fox

At this point, we don’t even have to tell you that the helicopter scenes were just the actors sitting in a cage being jiggled by a couple of teamsters.

20th Century Fox | This is how Cameron normally travels, too.

And finally, those romantic scenes look a good deal less romantic with bulky gamer headsets:

20th Century FoxThe line “I can see you” was originally “I can barely see you, because I can’t really turn my head right now.”

1. Here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger As A Raver Terminator

The Movie:

In Terminator Genisys, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the role of the T-800. Because if Mr. Freeze can somehow smoke fine cigars, and a surprising number of American law enforcement agents can have thick Austrian accents, then robots can age, sure.

Paramount Pictures | “I’ll be back” was always meant to be a threat.

Without The Special Effects:

The first two Terminator movies were well known for their groundbreaking practical effects — even on set, Schwarzenegger looked convincingly like a battle-scarred cyborg from the future. And sure, visual effects technology has changed a lot in the past two decades, we get that. It’s just that we weren’t prepared for … this:

Paramount Pictures | The T-800’s newest mission: Infiltrate a group of spring breakers at Mardi Gras.

It’s pretty depressing to see the almighty Terminator painted up like a member of the KISS Army on St. Patrick’s Day so they could green screen his face. In the same scene, Schwarzenegger is also missing one robot arm. How did they do that? Prosthetics? Complex animatronics? Nope: Just a big, neon sock.

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures | That’s right: Schwarzenegger played both the T-800 and his puppet sidekick.

But hey, at least the producers spared him the indignity of hanging his sexagenarian ass from the ceiling, flashing a strobe light, and letting him dangle while awkwardly holding his scene partner like a seventh-grade dance with no gravity …

Paramount Pictures


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